Rumours are swirling in the wake of Sunday night’s Golden Globes, specifically surrounding Oprah Winfrey. The reality star delivered a speech upon accepting her Cecil B. DeMille Award that might have hinted at her intentions to run for president in the 2020 election.
“I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again.”
Many have pointed out that ‘a new day on the horizon’ would be a very catchy presidential campaign slogan.
Seth Meyers stood by Winfrey right before she was awarded her Cecil B. DeMille Award and made light of the entire situation: “Oprah, in 2011, I told some jokes about our current president at the White House Correspondents Dinner — jokes about how he was unqualified to be president — and some have said that night convinced him to run. So if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes!”
Two of Winfrey’s close friends, who wished to remain anonymous in order to speak freely, indicated that she is ‘actively considering’ running for president. They confirmed that for many months now, Winfrey’s confidants have been urging her to run, but they emphasized that Winfrey has not yet made up her mind. A Winfrey representative turned down a request to comment.
Winfrey’s long-term partner Stedman Graham, however, was willing to openly speak on the matter, saying that ‘it’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.’ And later that night, the Los Angeles Times informed Winfrey that ‘the internet is saying Oprah for president in 2020. What does Oprah say?’ Winfrey replied, ‘I say, I’m just glad I got through the speech! I thought a lot about it. I wanted this to be a meaningful moment.’
In the past, Winfrey has rejected these presidential rumors. Last June she claimed “I will never run for public office. That’s a pretty definitive thing.” And in an interview last March with David Rubenstein of Bloomberg TV, she insisted that she “never considered the question even a possibility.” When Rubenstein pointed out that political experience is not a requirement for candidacy, Winfrey replied, “That’s what I thought. I thought, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.” And now I’m thinking, ‘Oh.’” More recently, Winfrey shot down the rumors when her best friend Gayle King mentioned them on ‘CBS This Morning’: “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.”
Political strategists disagree whether Oprah would be a successful Democratic candidate. While her wealth, reputation and power would certainly sway many voters, many Americans might be weary of electing another TV star after Donald Trump. A poll by Quinnipiac University found that Winfrey saw a 23% unfavorable and 52% favorable rating and ranked very popular among Democrats. However, only one-in-five urged her to run for office, compared to the 69% who discouraged a campaign.
Since last night, the hashtag #oprah2020 has gained swift momentum: a reflection of her popularity or a short-lived internet fad? Only time will tell.